Week 8 Premier League Fixtures
Chelsea v. Leicester City
Arsenal v. Swansea City
AFC Bournemouth v. Hull City
Manchester City v. Everton
Stoke City v. Sunderland
West Bromwich Albion v. Tottenham Hotspur
Crystal Palace v. West Ham United
Middlesbrough v. Watford FC
Southampton v. Burnley
Liverpool v. Manchester United
Based on the matches above, I’ve highlighted the top teams you should avoid (Pass), as well as the top places to spend your funds (Shoot).
A fortuitous goal for Alvaro Negredo in a 1-1 draw against what we thought was a much stronger Stoke team in week 1 may have set our expectations too high for Middelsbrough as a source of fantasy production this season. Aitor Karanka has yet to settle on his preferred lineup, which makes it a challenge to identify a long-term solution in your squad. With Watford exceeding expectations, it’s best to stay away this week.
Slouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon
Hull came out roaring to start the Premier League season, but have since faltered badly, picking up a solitary point in the past five game weeks. Bournemouth are rounding into form and have been very strong in front of their home crowd this season. Unless you’re keeping hold of consistent performers like Curtis Davies or Robert Snodgrass, you’d do well to spend your fantasy funds elsewhere this time around (Note: I passed on Hull in Week 1, so cue the Tigers rebound!).
Bad Luck Black Cats
Just as David Moyes looked to be resolving some of the issues that put his Sunderland squad at the foot of the table, a couple of injuries have put him right back into the fire. With Jan Kirchoff and Jason Denayer set for spells on the sidelines, things aren’t looking great at the back. With Stoke on the rebound with Lee Grant in goal, the Wearside club could be spending another week on the wrong end of the table.
Oh, When the Saints Go Marching In
Three consecutive clean sheets for Claude Puel’s charges may signal that the strong defensive team we saw under Ronald Koeman last season is settling nicely under their new manager. The improved defensive displays shouldn’t downplay the appeal of the attacking players, though, especially with Dusan Tadic in white-hot form. Burnley are a well-drilled defensive side, but I like the Saints’ chances of picking up another clean sheet and their third win in four games.
Gunning for Top Spot
Arsenal are the league’s form team at the moment, with a perfect record over their past 5 matches. With upcoming matches against Swansea, Middlesbrough and Sunderland, Arsene Wenger’s men must have ambitions of making it 8 from 8. The attacking trio of Alexis Sanchez, Alex Iwobi and Theo Walcott have been too much for opposition defenses to handle, and should yet again fancy their chances. The defense is looking strong as well, with Shkodran Mustafi proving a much more able foil to Laurent Koscielny than either Per Mertesacker or Gabriel Paulista.
A Pep in the Step
The international break arrived at an interesting time for Pep Guardiola. A first loss of the season gave the boss plenty to think about over the past couple weeks, and given his tactical nous you’d have to think he’ll have a plan to get back to winning ways against Everton this weekend. Add in possible returns for Nolito and the magnificent Kevin De Bruyne (Note: this is not a recommendation to buy KDB this week!) and the Citizens will be confident of retaining their spot at the top of the table.
The matches not mentioned here may yield great fantasy returns if you choose wisely, and they may warrant careful investment, but are either too close to call or may be better suited to playing a waiting game until injury situations and availability following international duty becomes more clear.
Where are you planning on investing your funds for week 8?